Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Coach

APTOPIX SUPER BOWL FOOTBALL

I picture the long term memory part of my brain like shelves and shelves of scrapbooks filled with events and stories from my life.  I can go in there and pull one down and just flip through it til my heart’s content.  Today, I finished another scrapbook.  On it’s cover it simply reads “The Coach.”  Inside it though are pages upon pages of how deeply this man has touched my life without ever actually knowing me.  I don’t recall the first time he ever hit my radar, but that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is what has happened since then.  He has been a part of some of the BEST days of my life.  And sadly, he’s been a part of some of the worst, but in the end, I was thankful to be going through those worst times with him even from miles away.  I knew him without knowing him because he never pretended to be something he wasn’t.  What you saw was what you got.  He is one of the most real people to ever walk this earth, and words cannot express the gratitude I have for his willingness to spend even one day coaching the Colts, much less years.

I know this sounds as if he has passed away, but he hasn’t.  Only his tenure as an NFL coach has, and that in and of itself is sad enough.  The NFL needs people like Tony Dungy, and I pray that he has left at least a portion of himself behind as an example of how to do it right.  Sure you can say he should have won more championships, but quite frankly, I’d give up the one he did win if he’d stay longer.  What he did wasn’t based solely on winning championships.  It was based on being the kind of coach, player, team, and organization that represented the game the right way.  It means having the right character of people.  It means being able to put your head on the pillow at night and know that you would trust any one of your players with your teenage son.

True story: At the ESPYs after the Colts won the Super Bowl, Tony and his wife Lauren were ready to leave the after party, but their teenage son Eric was not.  Tony and Lauren left Eric in the care of safety Bob Sanders.  Just think about that.  Sit down and think about how many NFL players you would be willing to leave your child with…at night…at a party…with adults…where there’s probably alcohol.  And then remember that this story took place just a little more than a year after Tony and Lauren’s oldest son died.

One thing I know for sure is that this decision is the best one for his and his family’s future.  There will be many lives touched by this man before he does indeed leave this world, and if leaving the NFL behind is what he has to do for that to happen, then so be it.  A lot will be written in the next couple of days about the Coach he was, but I choose to remember the kind of person he was while doing a job he loved.  And I will remember those brief couple of minutes on an afternoon in May when the Coach took the time to speak to me, a fan, and treat me as if I was the only person in a room full of people and as if he’d known me for years.

Thanks for the memories, Coach.

tony-and-me

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A Farewell to Arms

This will be my final post about the Tar Heels this season. Call me what you will, but I’m done exerting more energy over the games than the actual players. I’m done watching a team play like they deserve to win the game instead of having to earn it.  So, other than the game in College Park that I’m hoping to attend, I won’t be watching the games until March Madness. 

I may continue to update Tyler’s stats to the right, but he pissed me off so much tonight, I’m not sure I’ll care about that either.

All I know is that life is too short to let a bunch of college kids rule my emotions.

I never imagined when I wrote this it would actually apply to the Heels who had everything going for them instead of a team that was 13-13 over the previous two seasons.

So I’m done until March Madness because I NEVER miss a March Madness.

So long my Tar Heels. I love you so, but I’m not a doormat whose emotions you can dangle on a string.

P.S. For all you Roy Williams critics out there who hate that he finishes games with a ton of timeouts left over, please note that he used every single one of them tonight. If there’s anything that ticks me off the most it’s the Roy critics because I’m sorry…he doesn’t turn the ball over, he doesn’t take horrible shots, and he most certainly doesn’t forget to box out.

WWIR: Searching for a Silver Lining

Where in the world do you begin after a weekend like this.  Let’s just muddle through it and see if we can come out the other side still fighting.

  • Pouring Salt in the Wounds:  Friday night, Alabama walked out on to the field at the Louisiana Superdome, and that’s about all they appeared capable of doing.  It was like some incredible nightmare unfolding before my eyes.  Like someone had replaced our bowl of sugar with salt.  When it was all said and done, what I came around to was that Alabama played like they deserved the win not like they had to earn it and Utah played like they had something to prove.  If nothing else, perhaps that game will continue to fuel the fire that is the protest for a college football playoff system.  Before anyone blasts Nick Saban for saying that Utah is a non-BCS team, he was speaking the truth.  In the world of the BCS, the Mountain West Conference is not considered a BCS conference.  That was their conference AD’s decision, not Nick Saban’s.  Did Nick need to say anything about it at the Sugar Bowl?  Probably not, but when have you ever known Nick Saban to care what people think about what he says?  It’s one of the reasons I respect him: because he’s unapologetic of who he is.  Interestingly enough, Andre Smith’s suspension seemed to have little or no impact unless you believe that his absence made the abilities of the entire rest of the O-line diminish.  When John Parker Wilson was sacked, it was mainly from the right side, which would be the fault of the right tackle, not Andre’s replacement (who was injured in the 1st quarter of the game) at left tackle.  Andre Smith’s suspension also doesn’t make up for our defense playing like they were out for an evening stroll on Bourbon Street.  There’s nothing I hate more than trying to cheer for a team that obviously could care less about what they’re doing.  I do have to give kudos to Javier Arenas (cousin of Gilbert) for being the only player on the field who seemed to give a darn.  He played his heart out and the field positions he got us on returns was probably the only reason we were able to score.  That punt return was a beauty!  In the end, Utah handed our behinds to us, deservedly so. 
    • A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Game: During the first half of the game, the sideline reporter gave an account of a group of Utah fans who chartered a bus to drive to the game.  This is their story.  It bears repeating because I just cannot make this stuff up.
  • Grounded: I would like Mike Pereira, NFL’s head of officiating, to sit down with me and watch the entire San Diego/Indianapolis wild card game and explain to me EACH and EVERY time Philip Rivers grounded the ball why none of them were intentional grounding.  I typically don’t allow myself to blame the refs for the outcome of a game because I just don’t think it’s a valid excuse.  If you want to win the game, you “play to win the game.”  But I questioned a lot in that game.  It doesn’t help that I’ve started to despise that which is the San Diego Chargers starting with Philip Rivers, and I hope that the Steelers send them packing this weekend (which basically means the Chargers will win the Super Bowl this year).  But all that said, Peyton did every thing and I mean EVERY thing in his power to win that game, but his O-line faltered in some of the worst ways at some of the worst times.  The running game hardly showed up to practice this season much less the actual game.  And the defense…don’t get me started on the defense.  I feel like the only ones out there trying to get things done were Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, but what with Philip Rivers throwing intentional grounding and not getting called for it, how’s a guy supposed to get a sack.  I think San Diego owes a huge debt of gratitude to their punter.  I never thought I’d see the day when a punter was the difference maker, but that guy had the game of his life.  So, now I go on and wait for the Pro Bowl and the NFL draft and mini camp and training camp.  It seems like such a long time until September.  I’m not even going to get into whether Tony is done or not.  In my heart, I want him to coach forever, but I know he has to do what is right for him and his family.  It’s not an easy decision to make, and I’m thankful he’s making it and not me.
    • By The Numbers: Interestingly enough, I went back to week 8 of the regular season and looked at the records of the teams.  Of all the teams that had only played 7 games, five of them had a 3-4 record at the close of week 8.  Colts, Browns, Jags, Texans, and Dolphins.  I have to say that I am incredibly pleased to be one of two teams that made the playoffs after having a sub-.500 season.
  • Spare Me: I’m going to spare you the info on the Tar Heel game because I think that some of the Tar Heel faithful have blown it out of proportion.  It’s one game, and as long as it’s not the last game of the year, then I can move on.  So, come down off that ledge my friends.  It’s gonna be ok.
  • To The Bitter End: What is not ok is NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow having to excuse herself from the season to battle yet another diagnosis of breast cancer.  She has never stopped fighting this disease that just won’t go away and I figure if she’s stepping down from her head coaching duties for the season, then she’s fighting as hard as she possibly can.  My thoughts and prayers are with her. 

Preach It, MJ

The following is the latest in the Become Legendary commercials by Michael Jordan’s Nike brand, Jumpman23.  Listen carefully.  What is said here is important.  Enjoy!

Sucking It Up

I have no words for the crappy sports weekend that I got to experience.  First, on Friday night, Bama sucked it up big time in the Sugar Bowl…the only highlight being the story about the Utah fans and their bus trip to the game.  (I’ll tell that one on Wednesday.)  Second, on Saturday night, the Colts (with a little help from the refs) sucked it up big time in the wild card game against the Chargers…the only highlight being the story Tom Jackson told earlier in the day about Peyton’s handwritten notes to retiring players.  Finally, on Sunday afternoon, the Heels sucked it up big time against Boston College in their ACC opener…the only highlight being…nope…sorry…all out of highlights.

So I searched high and low in my mind, which didn’t take long, to determine how I really felt about this fabulously horrible three peat of a weekend.  And this is the only explanation that seems to say it all.  Just fill in Utah, the Chargers, or Boston College for Clark’s boss (oh and if you have children around you might want to turn the volume down so you won’t have to explain what THAT word was they just heard):

(Programming note: Jessica WON the contest I talked about in my last entry!  She will be writing a blog post about her experience, and once she does, I’ll post the link to it here.  Until then, read the Baltimore Examiner article here.)

Help Wanted

My friend, Jessica is currently participating in the Ultimate Couch Potato Contest at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore, MD. She has made it over 27 hours without sleeping and bathroom breaks every 8 hours. She and her fellow contestants get 5 minute stretching breaks every hour and they can order all the food and drink they want. She gets a prize package worth $5000 if she’s the last one awake and sitting.

Right now she needs visitors. So if any of you out there in the blogosphere are in or around Baltimore, please take some time and hop on over to the ESPN Zone down by the inner harbor. Tell Jessica that Leann sent you.

Thanks!!